Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Maurice Chandler - October 3, 1993

Escaping the Ghetto

When was it?

It was May 20, 1941.

You remember the date?

Are you kidding? I'll never forget this. I see that day like I'll see it all my life. I think it was a Wednesday. I don't remember what day it was. I'm not sure but I remember on that day a heavy snow fell on Warsaw--a, a blanket snow. The type of snow that falls in flakes this large, you know, and then, eventually sloshes when it falls. But the whole--the sky was like in a gray and the flakes were falling and we got on, on that streetcar--we hopped on. And we all sat down on the streetcar, like this, against the windows.

Hiding your face?

Not looking out.

You paid the--you bribed the Poles?

Yeah, we gave him--each gave him five złotys cause he didn't care, you know. Because he knew that the car will be inspected as it reaches the outside, you know, to go out and uh, if they take us off, you know, so what else is new? We were told that they were shooting on the other side, you know, to get out and they catch you. You, you cross the Aryan side, you're dead. But uh, you see, miracles happen because that day with this big snow, obviously, I remember we came to the end of the line and a German that must have looked ten foot tall, you know, he wore that big heavy parka, with a helmet and a rifle. And instead of walking inside to look--we sitting there checking--he just walked on the outside. I remember we were all sitting--I was afraid to look--and he walked around and it was too, you know, burdensome for him to go in. And he just yelled out, "Up", and the streetcar left and we were on the outside. And the street was called ???. and it was the--on the, the street ran parallel with the Vistula. That was the street we got out. And our--we really didn't have a plan. We didn't know once we get out where we're gonna go.

What did you take with you?

I don't think we carried anything with us.

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